August is Romance Awareness Month! Ready for some Romance?
Wait – are you thinking it’s too late for romance, or that you’re single? Hmmm…what if it’s not too late, OR what if the romancing you need is with the relationship you have with yourself? Today’s tips can be used both ways. Read on…
You’ve probably heard of The Pareto Principle aka the 80/20 rule. It’s a phenomenon that states that roughly 80% of outcomes come from 20% of causes. For example, the research shows that 80% of family problems are caused by only 20% of family issues.
That probably isn’t a surprise to you. But there’s an inverse to that statistic: 20% of your conversation shapes 80% of your relationship.
THE 80/20 RULE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Think about it. When you and your sweetie are trying to solve a problem or work through something, the back and forth between you colors the process. That is, if your partner is making snide remarks or doing the eye-roll when you have an idea, you are likely to get ticked off and argue or just shut down and fume inside. That anger, and the residual resentment, influences how you feel about your relationship for a very long time.
On the other hand, if your partner tells you, “that’s one idea – and I don’t know if I agree, but you always have an interesting way of looking at things.” S/he may not like what you said, but with that response, you don’t feel disrespected or demeaned. So you stay engaged. And, while that conversation may only have been a small piece of your day, its influence affects the whole rest of your day – how you think, how you feel, and what you do. 80/20.
IN THE BEGINNING, YOUR RELATIONSHIP WAS 80% LOVING & FUN.
Remember how, at the beginning of your relationship, 80% of the things you said to each other were loving and fun? You saw the best in your partner and vice versa. They made you feel good, confident, supported…and in love.
Of course, as nice as it would be to keep that up, it’s unrealistic to expect to keep that level of emotional bliss going month-after-month, and year-after-year. That’s just not how real-life relationships work. Life gets so busy, and really complicated things come up, and you don’t always agree on everything. That’s life.
Sadly, unless you’re paying attention, your relationship stops growing, bliss is a thing of the past, and it becomes 100% everydayness. Same old same old, day in and day out.
After a couple of years of that, you get excited when a client, co-worker, or even the clerk at the convenience store smiles and jokes with you. At least they notice you’re there. You aren’t invisible like at home.
But that’s life. Nothing you can do, right?
Here’s the thing…Everyone wants to be noticed by loved ones and loved and appreciated for what they do. However, most of the time, most people don’t know what to do.
Using the 80-20 rule will help you do that. That means that you can develop the habit of using 20% of your communications to convey love and appreciation in everyday ways (even to just yourself!). That doesn’t mean you have to constantly be gushing and being insincere. That’s impractical…and annoying.
Actually, If you subtract 80% of the time out of your day (for work, meals, sleep, exercise, and TV/internet/kids), 20% comes to approximately 12 minutes a day. That’s less time than it takes to make a meal, call a friend, read a book chapter, and engage with friends on FB/IG.
Is romance and relationship happiness worth it for 12 minutes a day?
Of course, it is! And here are 3 easy communication habits for filling that 20%:
1. Be Polite.
When people are living in each other’s space, (or just you in your own space) it’s easy to let the little things go by the wayside. Make a new habit to say please, thank you, excuse me. “Thank you for making my tea/coffee for me” and “Thanks for stopping at the store on your way home, you saved me a trip” or Excuse me for interrupting…I thought you finished.” These are little, seemingly insignificant gestures, but they let your sweetie know that you noticed and that they aren’t being ignored.
Politeness also includes being polite to yourself. Your unconscious mind will love hearing “Thanks for adding an extra fifteen minutes to the schedule so things weren’t so rushed and were less stressed. That was good.” And, “yes, I know you messed up that phone call, but you’ll do better next time.”
2. Give a Compliment.
A compliment means you notice and like what you see. “I like that haircut,” or “hmmm…you smell nice,” or “that outfit looks good on you” are all tiny comments but they have a huge impact on your partner’s self-esteem. And, when you get in the habit of noticing and complimenting, s/he feels good with you, and s/he is more open to romance…with you, and not some clerk or co-worker.
Also, there’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a “nice job” compliment, or taking a “last look” before you leave the house and telling yourself “you look fabulous!” The inside-you will love it.
3. Show appreciation.
What has your sweetie done for you lately? Think it’s nothing? Think again…and, if necessary, again – until you find something. “You made my favorite dinner, and I loved it,” or “You work so hard every day and I appreciate it,” or “you always [take out the trash, are so good with my mother/parents/kids, find fun stuff for us to do] and it makes our life better. Thank you!”
A little appreciation goes a long way in fanning the flames of romance.
Being polite, giving a compliment, and showing appreciation are amazing tips that cost no money or energy. They do take enough interest on your part to pay attention – just 20% of the time.
During this month dedicated to romance awareness, challenged yourself to bring some romance back into your life.
Got 12 minutes to cook up some romance today?
Annmarie Kelly is a teacher, relationship coach, author, and architect of The Five-Year Marriage. You can learn more at AnnmarieKelly.com. And, for some weekly inspiration, join Annmarie’s private Facebook group, The Victory Chicks Community.